The Formula 1 driver pulled the brakes on half the peloton to help his teammate win

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At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah, an unusual incident occurred: Kevin Magnussen intentionally drove slowly to hold back the opponents of his teammate Nico Hülkenberg and thereby help the team score points. The plan succeeded: Magnussen helped Haas achieve their best result in six months, but now he is being accused of unsportsmanlike behavior. You can yukle the popular bookmaker’s app and place bets on Formula 1 races or other sports.

How Magnussen Helped Hulkenberg

It all started on the sixth lap when, after Lance Stroll’s crash, Haas decided to split their strategies: Magnussen pitted during the safety car period, while Hulkenberg stayed out on track. The race resumed on the tenth lap, and Kevin, who was in 13th place, made slight contact with Alex Albon’s wall — for this, he received a 10-second penalty by the 16th lap.

Meanwhile, Hulkenberg was in ninth place, but he still had to make a pit stop. At this point, Haas decided that since Magnussen had already lost his chance for points (even if the Dane made it into the top 10, the penalty would have dropped him out), he would help his teammate by holding back those who could overtake him during the pit stop.

Kevin received the team’s instructions on the 20th lap — after he had overtaken Tsunoda with an infringement. Now, he was chasing Zhou and together they were maintaining a pace of 1:35.0. “Don’t try to catch Zhou, keep the pace at 1:35.5,” race engineer Mark Slade directly commanded the driver. A lap later, the race engineer communicated again: “Kev, I repeat, drive slower, hold back those behind you.”

By the 20th lap, Magnussen was trailing Hulkenberg by 5.8 seconds, but by the 32nd lap, it had grown to 20.7 seconds. This was exactly what Hulkenberg needed: he dove into the pits and emerged behind the Alfa Romeo, but the Chinese driver still had to make a pit stop. In the end, Nico confidently secured 10th place — this was Haas’s first top-10 finish since the Singapore Grand Prix in September of last year.

Is this even acceptable?

Over the 12 laps between Slade’s first communication with the team and Hulkenberg’s pit stop, Magnussen fell behind his teammate by approximately 15 seconds and was averaging 1.2 seconds slower per lap. Immediately after his teammate’s stop, Kevin picked up the pace by two seconds and ultimately finished 11th, but after receiving two penalties, he dropped to 12th.

However, the issue wasn’t that Magnussen was driving slowly. It may seem odd for a Formula 1 driver to be driving at half speed, but Kevin’s pace wasn’t dangerously slow, so he had every right to do so. Moreover, when Alonso drove two seconds slower for a third of the Monaco Grand Prix in 2022 to preserve his tires, it was considered a masterful strategic move.

The criticism arose from Magnussen being penalized for impeding the pack — he learned about the penalty for overtaking Tsunoda on the 22nd lap and continued to drive conservatively for another 10 laps, protecting Hulkenberg. Magnussen himself had no chance of fighting for a top-10 finish — it would have been the equivalent of obstructing his team’s rivals.

In this case, Kevin’s penalty would not have played any role: Nico Hülkenberg would not have been penalized as there was nothing to penalize him for, and Tsunoda’s chances of finishing in the top 10 could not be restored by any penalties.

Perhaps a reform of the penalty system awaits the championship in the future, but it is not necessary to make a big deal out of what happened. “Haas” did not invent anything new: in 2016, Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi restrained Nico Rosberg from exposing him to attacks from rivals. There is no doubt that similar situations will occur again, but specific circumstances are required for their occurrence, and they do not happen often.

Written by Frederick Jace

A passionate Blogger and a Full time Tech writer. SEO and Content Writer Expert since 2015.

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